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Australia’s guide through COVID-19 Mary-Louise McLaws has passed away

McLaws has died at the age of 70 from a terminal illness.

Epidemiologist Professor Mary-Louise McLaws, who guided Australia through the COVID-19 pandemic, has passed away at age 70 from a terminal illness.

McLaws was a well-respected epidemiologist at the University of NSW and an adviser to the World Health Organisation (WHO).

In an interview with the ABC, Dean of Medicine at UNSW, Vlado Perkovic, said that McLaws played a big part in providing “comfort, information and advice” to everyday Australian’s battling through the COVID-19 pandemic.

McLaws took leave from her position at UNSW and WHO after being diagnosed with brain cancer in January 2022.

“After a severe headache Thursday, I was diagnosed with a brain tumour,” McLaws said on X/Twitter. “I will now be on a month’s sick leave from UNSW and WHO. Thank you media for helping me spread knowledge. Now it is time with my family. Best wishes to you all.”

McLaws was named an Officer of the Order of Australia in the Queen’s Birthday honours list in 2022 and credited for her “distinguished service to medical research, particularly epidemiology and infection prevention”.

On Saturday night, McLaws Husband, Richard Flook, announced her passing at Wolper Hospital in Sydney’s Woollahra to the media.

“Our dear Mary-Louise passed away in her sleep”, he said.

“She had been so well cared for by the nurses and doctors at Wolper Hospital in Woollahra and had enjoyed the visits of her many friends, who have been so supportive of her and our family.”

“We will be planning her funeral service at Emmanuel Synagogue in the next few days.”


Photo: Coronavirus SARS-CoV-2 by Felipe Esquivel Reed available HERE and used under a Creative Commons license. This image has not been modified.

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